I Heart Kosher: Beautiful Recipes from My Kitchen

There’s nothing better than being surrounded by good people and good food. Kim Kushner, award-winning author and culinary expert, knows how to craft sublime, uncomplicated meals, even on a weeknight.

Kim Kushner’s new cookbook, “I Heart Kosher: Beautiful Recipes from My Kitchen,” is a modern take on kosher cooking. It’s perfect for the at-home chef who wants to use fresh, seasonal ingredients but doesn’t have four hours to spend in the kitchen. Kushner offers creative inspiration and time-saving practical advice for Mediterranean-influenced cooking that will thrill any picky palate. And she should know, as all the recipes are kid-tested and approved by her four children. Each recipe renews the idea of “keeping kosher” through unusual flavor combinations and Kushner’s personal flair for creating surprising, signature meals.

Kushner’s style is to take comfort in a meal’s balanced simplicity. She says it’s the little things that turn a regular meal into a truly memorable experience. She shares tangible, process-based strategies that modern chefs can use to imitate and, ultimately, create their own elegant aesthetic with ease. Kushner’s recipes don’t require you to have every spice known to man, but emphasize that having signature ingredients on hand at all times can elevate an ordinary cooking game to culinary genius status. With Kushner’s guidance, it’s oh-so-easy to be ready to rock in the kitchen.

Between Montreal, Canada, and summers in Israel, Kushner blends her worldly cuisine into stunning, colorful recipes too good not to share. They’re young and fresh, but also honor the ancient ways of preparing and sharing meals that bring communities together. I Heart Kosher nourishes the traveler’s heart. Adventure-seekers who want to go somewhere without leaving the comforts of home can do so easily with Kushner’s easy-to-follow instructions.

I Heart Kosher’s clean, simple, and beautiful eating has plenty of delicious options for special occasions and weekday meals. You don’t have to be restrictive to keep kosher, either. Skip the diet and eat what you want in a way that feels good. Really good.

Crispy Chicken and Rice With Sweet Potato and Lemon Slices

Crispy Chicken and Rice With Sweet Potato and Lemon Slices. Photo by Kate Sears

Chicken, rice, and sweet-potato slices all roasted together in the oven, releasing juices and flavors that will make your mouth water. I know most people might not opt for rice and potatoes in the same sitting, but I love the contrast of the soft, buttery sweet-potato slices against the bright lemons and crunchy rice. If you’d rather leave the potatoes out, feel free to do so … but I’m warning you that the experience just won’t be the same! If you don’t have a whole butterflied chicken, feel free to use chicken pieces, skin-on and bone-in.

Makes 4–6 servings

Ingredients:

For the Chicken

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 sweet potatoes, scrubbed, trimmed, and cut into ⅛-inch (3-mm) slices
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into ⅛-inch (3-mm) slices
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon (preferably Meyer), scrubbed and cut into ⅛-inch (3-mm) slices
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 4 sprigs thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 whole butterflied chicken, skin on and bone in, trimmed of excess skin and fat

For the Rice

  • 1 cup (200 g) long-grain white rice
  • 1 teaspoon light olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups (500 ml) boiling water

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. To prepare the chicken, drizzle 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil into a large baking dish (at least 9 by 12 inches/23 by 30 cm). Add the sweet potato and onion slices, season with salt and pepper, and toss them in the oil. Arrange the potato and onion slices in a single layer in the base of the dish. Place the lemon slices over them.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, and thyme. Drizzle this mixture all over the chicken and rub into the top and underside of the chicken, coating it as much as you can. Place the seasoned chicken, skin side up, in the center of the baking dish.
  4. To prepare the rice, rinse the rice under cold running water and drain. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the light olive oil, turmeric, lemon zest, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Scatter the rice around the chicken in the baking dish. Pour the boiling water directly over the scattered rice (but not over the chicken).
  5. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and uncover. Return to the oven to cook until crispy, 30 minutes longer.

Make-Ahead Tip: Crispy chicken and rice with sweet potato and lemon slices (without the rice) may be marinated and stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Add the seasoned rice and boiling water just before cooking.

Can I Freeze It? Do not freeze.

How to Reheat: Crispy chicken and rice with sweet potato and lemon slices may be reheated, uncovered, in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 10 minutes.

Recipe by Kim Kushner from “I Heart Kosher: Beautiful Recipes from My Kitchen” (Weldon Owen 2018).

Crispy Sweet Potato Halves Baked On Parchment

Crispy sweet potatoes. Photos by Kate Sears

I am obsessed with this technique of baking sweet potato halves cut side down on parchment paper. After about an hour in the oven, you will literally peel the sweet potatoes off the parchment paper and be rewarded with a crispy-skinned, caramelized, golden, sticky potato. No mess, no fuss. Thank you to Oz Telem, author of “The Book of the Cauliflower,” for this awesome technique. You can try it with other root vegetables as well, such as fennel and squash.

Makes 6–8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 8 sweet potatoes, scrubbed and dried
  • 2 tablespoons light-tasting olive oil
  • 8 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • Kosher salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line 1 or 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cut the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise. Drizzle the oil onto the prepared baking sheet(s). Add the thyme and 2 teaspoons salt and use your fingertips to swirl all together. Rub the potato halves on all sides in the oil mixture and then place the potato halves cut side down on the parchment paper. Bake in the oven, uncovered, for 1 hour. Serve.

Make-Ahead Tip: Crispy sweet potato halves baked on parchment can be baked and left in an “OFF” oven for up to 4 hours.

How To Reheat: Reheat, uncovered, in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 10 minutes.

Recipe by Kim Kushner from I Heart Kosher: Beautiful Recipes from My Kitchen (Weldon Owen 2018). 

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